2022’s top online electrical engineering master’s degrees

Online master’s in electrical engineering programs prepare graduates for lucrative roles as electrical and electronic engineers. Many are designed for working professionals looking to advance their careers while earning full-time. 

Electrical engineering jobs focus on manufacturing and installing electrical power equipment, while electronics engineers design and develop electronic equipment. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a median annual salary for electrical engineers of $100,830 and $107,540 for electronics engineers. 

These professionals can specialize in aerospace, bioengineering, computer hardware, and more. Developing  specialized knowledge through a master’s degree can increase your earning potential.

Explore our guide to learn more about electrical engineering master’s degrees, including the best available online.

The best online master’s in electrical engineering degrees

ZDNet’s ranking methodology relies on data curated by experts and rigorously reviewed by our editorial team, resulting in program lists our readers can trust. Schools cannot buy their way onto our lists, and we select them based on our established metrics. 

Unless otherwise indicated, data is drawn from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Scorecard.

1. University of Virginia

Charlottesville, Virginia

About the program: The 30-credit online master’s in electrical engineering at UVA does not require a research thesis. Prospective students can try an online class before applying.

  • Acceptance rate: 24%
  • Graduation rate: 94%
  • Avg. annual net price: $20,397 
  • Time to completion: Three to five years; part-time study available
  • GRE/GMAT: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: Spring, summer, and fall
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: University of Virginia is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

2. Stanford University

Stanford, California

About the program: Stanford’s master of science in electrical engineering requires 45 credits that students can complete primarily online. The program prepares graduates for electrical engineering practice or junior college-level teaching.

  • Acceptance rate: 4%
  • Graduation rate: 96%
  • Avg. annual net price: $11,496 
  • Time to completion: Three to five years; program is part-time 
  • GRE/GMAT: Not required 
  • Minimum GPA: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Fall
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Stanford University is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission (WSCUC).

3. North Carolina State University

Raleigh, North Carolina

About the program: Remote learners can earn a master of science in electrical engineering at NC State. The program’s 31 credits focus on communication and signal processing, nanoelectronics and photonics, and power electronics and power systems.

  • Acceptance rate: 45%
  • Graduation rate: 79%
  • Avg. annual net price: $16,458
  • Time to completion: Three to six years; part-time study available
  • GRE/GMAT: May be waived for online students
  • Minimum GPA: 3.25
  • Enrollment periods per year: Fall and spring
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: North Carolina State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

4. University of Wisconsin-Madison

Madison, Wisconsin

About the program: UW-Madison offers a 30-credit online master of science in electrical engineering – power engineering that prepares graduates for careers in alternative energy, electric machines, electric power, motor drives, and power electronics.

  • Acceptance rate: 54%
  • Graduation rate: 86%
  • Avg. annual net price: $17,708
  • Time to completion: Two to four years
  • GRE/GMAT: Not required but highly recommended
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: Fall and spring
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous, plus three-week summer lab course on campus

Accreditation: University of Wisconsin-Madison is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

5. Texas A&M University

College Station, Texas

About the program: Texas A&M online learners can earn a master of engineering in electrical engineering that requires 30 credits and a final project. 

  • Acceptance rate: 58%
  • Graduation rate: 82%
  • Avg. annual net price: $19,507
  • Time to completion: Two to five years
  • GRE/GMAT: waived for fall 2022 and spring 2023 applicants
  • Minimum GPA: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Spring and fall
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Texas A&M University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

6. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, Illinois

About the program: Illinois’ online master of engineering in electrical and computer engineering consists of 32 credits with at least four hours devoted to professional development.

  • Acceptance rate: 59%
  • Graduation rate: 86%
  • Avg. annual net price: $15,880
  • Time to completion: Two to five years
  • GRE/GMAT: Not required for graduate admission
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: Fall and spring
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

7. Purdue University

West Lafayette, Indiana

About the program: Distance learners can pursue a 30-credit master of science in electrical and computer engineering at Purdue and finish in as little as one year with full-time study.

  • Acceptance rate: 60%
  • Graduation rate: 73%
  • Avg. annual net price: $13,986
  • Time to completion: One to six years; part-time study available
  • GRE/GMAT: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: 3.6
  • Enrollment periods per year: Fall and spring
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Purdue University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

8. University of Arkansas

Fayetteville, Arkansas

About the program: U of A’s online 30-credit master of science in electrical engineering emphasizes electric power engineering and control systems.

  • Acceptance rate: 77%
  • Graduation rate: 63%
  • Avg. annual net price: $16,381
  • Time to completion: Two years
  • GRE/GMAT: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: Spring, summer, and fall
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: University of Arkansas is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

9. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, California

About the program: The master of science in electrical engineering online program at USC teaches professional skills focusing on global rapid technological change.

  • Acceptance rate: 11%
  • Graduation rate: 92%
  • Avg. annual net price: $29,528
  • Time to completion: 18 months to three years; part-time study available
  • GRE/GMAT: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Spring and fall
  • Course delivery method: Synchronous and asynchronous

Accreditation: University of Southern California is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission (WSCUC).

10. Penn State World Campus

University Park, Pennsylvania

About the program: This master of engineering in electrical engineering requires 30 credits and prepares graduates for roles solving complex problems and implementing infrastructure at any scale.

  • Acceptance rate: 76%
  • Graduation rate: 73%
  • Avg. annual net price: $27,372
  • Time to completion: Two years; part-time study available
  • GRE/GMAT: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: Summer, fall, and spring
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Penn State World Campus is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

What to expect in an online master’s in electrical engineering degree program

Many online master’s in electrical engineering degree programs are designed for working professionals and offer asynchronous learning platforms. Students participate and collaborate on projects through discussion boards and group chat applications. Programs may be thesis- or non-thesis-based. Often, those that do not require a thesis substitute a project or a comprehensive examination. 

Courses cover a mix of practical and theoretical topics. Students may choose a specialization and take related advanced courses.

Available specializations include analog and mixed-signal circuits, device science and nanotechnology, energy and power, electromagnetics and microwaves, and information science and systems.

Online engineering students juggling full-time jobs need organization, time management, and self-motivation.

Electrical engineering master’s courses

Online master’s in electrical engineering curriculums vary depending on specialization and focus. The list below offers a sampling of some of the courses electrical engineering graduate students commonly take. 

Circuits I

In this introduction to circuit modeling and analysis, students master modeling typical components in electronic circuits and using network theory to solve linear and non-linear circuits under dynamic and static operations.

Digital communications

Students learn the basics of digital communication systems and spread-spectrum communications through coursework covering analog message digitization, binary and M-ary signaling methods, and signal space representation of digital signals.

Renewable electric energy systems

This course covers new renewable electricity generation technologies (solar, wind, and fuel cells) and their integration into the power grid, along with the topic’s economic and policy aspects. 

System and signal analysis

This course defines and describes systems and signals, including analog and digital signals, filter design, and sampling and signal reconstruction, along with engineering applications and other related advanced topics.

Electrical engineering degree levels

Electrical engineering degree programs offer a range of opportunities. Undergraduate certificate or associate degree-holders qualify for entry-level work, while doctorates may pursue an academic career in teaching and research. 

This field is open to many types of students. Choose the degree level that best fits your goals and current qualifications.

Certificate in electrical engineering

Length: 3-24 months

Cost: $325-$1,700 per credit

Post-grad careers: Electronics technician; electrical engineer; systems engineer

Schools offer electrical engineering certificates at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Undergraduate programs present the foundational theories of electronics. Completers qualify for positions as electronics technicians or bachelor’s-level study.

Graduate electrical engineering certificates focus on specialized industry topics, such as nanotechnology and telecommunications, or prepare students for master’s degree programs. Enrollees typically hold a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering or a related field. 

Learning takes place through classroom instruction and lab work, and online courses are available. 

Associate in electrical engineering

Length: Two years 

Cost: $5,000-$15,000 per year

Post-grad careers: Electrical systems coder; electronic and electrical installer, electrical engineering technician

Associate degrees in electrical engineering introduce students to the field through courses like circuit theory, computer hardware, computer instrumentation, digital electronics and communication, and fiber optics. 

The curriculum may include experiential learning, such as hands-on projects, apprenticeships, and internships. 

Students can earn electrical engineering associate degrees in person or online at community colleges, technical colleges, and universities. Graduates can qualify for entry-level electrical engineering jobs or transfer into bachelor’s degree programs. 

Bachelor’s in electrical engineering

Length: Four years 

Cost: $9,500-$35,000 per year 

Post-grad careers: Electrical engineer; electronic engineer; computer hardware engineer

Electrical engineering bachelor’s programs emphasize the theoretical foundations and practical applications of electrical and electronic engineering. Coursework covers digital systems fundamentals, electrical circuits, electrical engineering design analysis, and engineering economics. Students also take advanced math and physics courses.

Some programs may require internships or labs where students fabricate and install electrical systems. Many programs offer online classes and laboratory work.

Graduates can pursue entry-level electrical engineering positions or apply to master’s degree programs. 

Master’s in electrical engineering

Length: Two to three years 

Cost: $12,000$41,000

Post-grad careers: Industrial and power electronics engineer; computer architect; systems designer

At the master’s level, electrical engineering students typically specialize in areas like bioengineering, computer engineering, renewable energy, and systems design. Learners hold bachelor’s degrees and have often previously worked in the field.

Programs include advanced computer networks, digital processing systems, and communications coursework. 

Students may complete a thesis or a research project before graduating.

Doctorate in electrical engineering

Length: Five to six years 

Cost: $329-$1,965 per credit

Post-grad careers: Electrical systems analyst; machine learning engineer; postsecondary electrical engineering teacher

Doctorate in electrical engineering programs tend to attract professionals interested in academic, laboratory, or industrial development and research roles. Common specializations include computer algorithms and applications, graphics and interactive media, and signals and systems.

Doctoral students attend classroom and lab sessions while working on their dissertations. Many engineering schools offer online and hybrid learning but may require brief on-campus residencies. 

Candidates may have to take a qualifying exam to enroll in a program.

What’s next?

The hardest part about choosing an online master’s in electrical engineering may be narrowing down your specialization area. You must also decide whether to enter a master of engineering or master of science in engineering program. 

Researching schools on our list and contacting them for more information can help you define your best path.

https://www.zdnet.com/education/science-engineering/best-online-electrical-engineering-masters/